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TheWord1214

My children are past the age of getting up in the middle of the night and coming into our bedroom. But I remember one night when one of my children came into our bedroom crying over a terrifying dream. I still remember that dream because it frightened me too.

The dream was my child running in the hallways at school from a man with a gun. It was frightening, and I did my best to comfort and reassure in the middle of the night that it was just a dream and not reality. I prayed for my child, and despite my poor ability for being able to memorize scriptures, I managed to think of the verse in 2 Timothy 1:7, For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. I explained that God has the power to calm all our fears even our nightmares. We can rest in that comfort.

I went back to bed but with a little check of fear in my own heart. “God, don’t ever let that nightmare become a reality for my children,” I prayed.

This past Monday we awoke to the news of the massacre in Las Vegas. A madman with a gun and people running for their lives, but this was not a dream. This was a reality.

That tragic event put fear in my heart as a parent. Our world’s realities are nightmares come true.

My kids are the generation that has grown up with Lock and Hide drills at school of the possibility of an active shooter. Music concerts that are celebratory events are now potential target audiences for violence. The week before, my daughter attended a country music concert. Fear set in, again. “I can’t let her go to another concert. It’s too dangerous,” I thought.

Jason Aldean was the country music singer who was on stage that night in Las Vegas. He saw the massacre unfold right in front of him. “This world is becoming the kind of place I am afraid to raise my children in,” he wrote after the tragedy.

I get it. I can relate as a parent to his fears. How do we parent in a society where we have to constantly fear for our children’s safety? A place where my child’s frightening dream has been a reality for people around the world.

As I watched the unbelievable tragedy on the news, fear started to take hold of me. And then I was reminded of that one particular night of my own reassuring words and the scripture.

God has not given ME a spirit of fear.

I prayed, and I let that Bible verse seep into my heart and I not only found comfort but joy. Isn’t that just like God to not only comfort us but exchange our fear for joy?

As a follower of Christ, I am a child of God. Just like my child, who came into our bedroom seeking comfort for their fears, I found comfort from God. I do know that fear can be a powerful emotion that can hold people captive. But we are not slaves to fear. In all the uncertainty of this world- in the violence and tragic events that seem to unfold before us every day- there is God. He’s there comforting us and reminding us there is joy and peace in uncertainty. That joy and peace can only be explained because I take refuge in God’s promises. I know without a shadow of a doubt that whatever happens to my children or me, we are safe in His arms.

It’s the reason why I can send my children to school each day. It’s the reason I can let my child go to a concert or experience all life’s celebratory events without fear. It’s God.

It is also important as a parent to model my faith and security in Christ in front of my children, especially when tragic events take place. I cannot let fear take hold of my heart. My reaction to tragedy in front of my children reflects my faith or lack of faith in God. And I know in whom I trust. I am a child of God. If I live that out, so will they.

I want my children to understand that whether it’s a bad dream or a real-life event, that there is hope and peace in living for Christ. They are not slaves to fear. I want them to live in that freedom and find joy amidst all life’s uncertainties.

I read that the Bible quotes “do not fear” 365 times. That’s one for each day of the year. I’ll take it and try to rest in that command each day. I will not be afraid.

God reminded me this week that I have no fear in raising my children because God does not give US a spirit of fear. In a world where we have no control over evil, God is still the giver of peace. He will speak joy into our hearts even in tragedy. We can rest in that comfort.

 

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

 

 

 

 

As parents, don’t underestimate your voice in the prolife movement.

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thCA1F4EIVIf you have school age kids like me you are probably inundated with anti-bullying events, programs and discussions in your child’s school. It is the growing trend to teach kids the negative aspects of bullying and how to get help if you are bullied at school. It is a serious problem in our schools and it’s correct to address it. However, is bullying a symptom of our society going it alone without faith and a belief in God?

Now I am sure we can all recall that bully classmate in our school. Maybe we have stories of being bullied ourselves or teased in a way that left an emotional scar. Peer pressure, teasing and fights; they are a part of the growing up process. I tell my kids that some people never grow out of that bullying attitude. Even adults have to deal with bullies. My advice to them is to surround themselves with those that are kind. I teach them to remember that bullies are mean because there is something inside of them that hurts enough to make them want to hurt others. It’s a simple, common sense message that reflects the heart of God and the scriptures. Remember all those Sunday school lessons we learned in church? They were once the anti-bullying campaign.

Is there a correlation between the absence of church life and a foundation of faith in our homes and the increase in bullying? Do our schools have to teach kindness and character building because so many parents fail to do it at home? These are questions I constantly ask myself both as a parent and a teacher. Our teachers do more than teach academics. They are now supposed to help a student identify the difference between negative and positive character traits. I have news for all my kids’ teachers. That is not their job. My children are a reflection of my parenting. If they fail to treat others less than kind than that is my responsibility. My parenting is also a reflection on how I treat others and my walk with God. When I fail to follow the scriptures and treat others the way I want to be treated, my children see my example and follow it.

Is the increase in bullying symptomatic of the lack of parenting? Again, so many questions and I really don’t know the answers. However, I do know that there is a book that develops a person’s character. This book teaches the greatest character building stories, even for young kids, to help them learn that life is not about living for your-self but living for God and for others. The Bible is the first and official anti-bullying campaign. Schools can develop wonderful character building programs and try and decrease the bullying that unfortunately happens in our schools. However without God, the Bible and the foundation of faith, I fear our children will be dealing with the bullying problem for many more years. Is the increase in bullying symptomatic of our society’s rejection of God? I know the answer to this one… YES!

working mom

She was a perfect gift for our family. What joy we all felt when my husband brought home an 8 week old puppy for the kids and I for Christmas. She was adorable, cuddly and we loved her. So the hardest thing to do was return her 3 days later. Who knew a puppy could cause so much grief? We all felt the pain of it and for us as parents it was hard admitting we made a mistake. It was hard watching our kids feel the loss of a dog that they wanted so much.

Why you might ask did we return her? The bottom line is our plates are full enough. We both realized that the stress of taking care of a puppy that needs to be loved and trained was just too much stress on our lives right now. It was hard for me to admit that I cannot do it all. I started to compare myself to other mom’s out there. They do it all with kids, sports, work, schedules and have a dog, so I can do it too. However, reality set it and I realized as much as I wanted this adorable pup I had to admit that I would not be able to handle the stress. I am not a super mom and I know my limits.

As women we are so hard on ourselves. We are constantly comparing our looks, our success and our abilities with other women. However, when we become mothers there is this added pressure we feel. Now not only do we feel the daily pressures of life on us but we now want to be the best mothers we can be. So we strive to do the newest and best parenting practices, we try to be the most creative in putting together the greatest birthday party or we make sure we volunteer every last-minute at our kids’ school so others know we are involved in the lives of our children. The pressures and stress seem endless and we add more and more to our plates. When do we admit that enough is enough?

That puppy taught me a valuable lesson. I have a breaking point and to be a good mother means sometimes I have to admit that I can’t handle certain things that possibly other moms can handle. This doesn’t make me a bad mother it makes me an honest one. My kids felt the pain of losing that dog which was hurtful. However, they gained a happy, less stressful mother who is able to attend to their needs without added stress on her life. I can’t compare myself to any other mother and I can’t pretend that I can do it all. God made me who I am. I know my limits and I know what added stress can do to me and the balance of my family.

I am in one of the busiest times of my life in raising children and managing a family. My plate won’t always be this full. The balancing act isn’t about seeing how much we can add to our life (or plate) till we break. It is about being honest with our self, admitting when life is too full and realizing less is sometimes more. Yes, my life is busy and full but I am not at a breaking point. My cup overflows with the joy and happiness I feel in raising my children. I am not going to let society’s measure of what motherhood should be take that joy away from me!